If you love rare pieces of Corvette history, then you won’t want to miss the 2015 Corvettes at Carlisle event (August 28-30). Unless you happened upon the New York World’s Fair, held between 1964 and 1965, then the chances are it will be your first or only glimpse at a fully functional cut-away of a 1965 Corvette chassis, complete with a 327cid fuelie, and a 396cid big-block.
This year’s Corvettes at Carlisle will mark the 50-year reunion of the 1965 Corvette. The Carlisle PA Fairgrounds will play host to hundreds of Corvettes and Corvette lovers, such as Ken Kayser and Curt Simlik, owners of the engine and chassis display. GM’s Futurama pavilion was a fitting home to the 396 and ’65 chassis, as the World’s Fair was intended to showcase American culture and technology. GM had two identical displays for periodic maintenance. At the conclusion of the fair in ’65, the displays were sent to Detroit for storage; however, in ’67 one set went to a GM Motorama show in South Africa. Rather than send it back following the show, it was donated to an engineering college. In the ‘90s this long lost and forgotten piece of history was discovered and returned to Orlando, FL. The chassis (but not the engine) was displayed at an NCRS Disney show in January 2000 where it was sold to Al Wiseman. The engine (apart and in need of restoration) was also included in the deal.
GM donated the other (“spare”) Corvette cut-away to Ferris State University in Michigan, where Curt Simlik discovered and acquired it (minus the hovering Corvette body). Wiseman sold his Corvette display in 2007, but retained the 396 big-block until he sold it to Kayser, who’s father helped display the cut-away in ’65 as a spokesman for the new big-block. Incidentally, Ken Kayser is also the Tonawanda Big Block Business Team Manger, so at last the 396 would have the perfect set of hands to put it back together.
For the first time in 50 years, these two awesome pieces of Corvette history will be on display together. It’s 1965 all over again. See you there!